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    Books: Cooking by Cuisine -> Cooking Indian

    The Turmeric Trail : Recipes and Memories from an Indian Childhood

    Iyer, Raghavan

    St. Martin's Press
    Published: June 1, 2002
    ISBN: 0312276826

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    Book Description
    The Turmeric Trail's beguiling author, Raghavan Iyer, arrived in America at the age of 16, steeped in the southern Indian cooking of his youth. In addition to his love for the extraordinary vegetarian Tamilian food that his grandmother and mother prepared, he had enjoyed the tempting street fare of Mumbai (Bombay), where he was born and raised. His book includes 125-plus recipes encompassing curries and stews, rice dishes, chutneys, poori and other breads, grilled kebabs, ginger-laced chai, and sweet fruit desserts. Readers will delight in authentic, approachable formulas for irresistible fare like Corn with Roasted Chilies and Coconut Milk, Chicken in Saffron Almond Sauce, and naan (grilled bread) with fenugreek and garlic--versions they're unlikely to encounter in other Indian cookbooks. But the greatest pleasure of the book is Iyer, who writes with a droll, impish wit and the sure ability to evoke scenes of Indian domestic and public life in all their teeming intimacy.

    For example, after being slapped by his "otherwise favorite French teacher," Iyer recounts a trip, instigated by his "newly arrived sister-in-law," to eat lentil croquettes sold by a distant vendor. "There's nothing like Mumbai street life to diminish the shock of a slap," he continues. "The piercing horn of the three-wheeled rickshaw, noisy as a pressure cooker's whining, and the angry ringing of a bicyclist's bell jarred me back from my self-pity to the life-risking task at hand--crossing the street." The croquettes, finally, justify all. "After the first mouthfuls, I understood [my sister-in-law's] zealous fervor.... Suddenly, I was a disciple, too, having been blessed by their divine presence that nudged me to open my heart's door to my brother's wife."

    With an enlightening introduction and comprehensive glossary on ingredients and techniques, good tips, and many more wonderful stories, the book is an entrancing and practical treat. --Arthur Boehm

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